What’s Holding Retailers Back from Local Social?

We know consumers use digital to find new products. We also know that the majority of retail sales still occur at brick-and-mortar locations. To this end, forward-thinking, multi-location retailers realize there’s value in connecting their physical store presence with their local digital activities to drive consumers through their doors.

Earlier this month at Future Stores Seattle, I led a roundtable discussion on local social strategies. Based on participation from some of the biggest and most respected retailers in the US, most see this as an area of both need and opportunity; however, many are struggling to get started.

What’s preventing them from more authentic, community-driven, local social strategies? The answer is complex but can be boiled down to three challenges: Risk, authenticity, and logistics.

  1. Risk: The risk of managing a multi-location social presence is viewed as higher than the risk of not doing it.
  2. Authenticity: How do you ensure the conversations feel authentic and seamless without straying from the corporate message?
  3. Logistics: Where do you start and how to get it right the first time?

Risk. A common concern we get from retailers considering a local social strategy is that they’re worried about store associate posting something they shouldn’t. With control in someone else’s hands, perceived risk is giving up corporate control over brand messaging and how your brand is supposed to feel from a national level. This may be an uncomfortable thought, and we recognize the importance of maintaining a consistent brand voice. It’s why we help put appropriate guard rails and approval processes in place to ensure social policies are upheld while enabling your brand to have a local presence.

Think about it: You trust your associates with the keys to the store, you trust them to talk to customers, and you trust them with the cash flow. If they’ve proven capable of those tasks, why wouldn’t they shine in this role as well? Plus, who better to speak to the community than those who work in it?  

In fact, at Future Stores, we heard retailers say that their store managers are mini-CEOs of their locations. So, what’s preventing you from giving them the keys to the digital storefront?

Authenticity. We understand that store managers aren’t social media experts, nor should they be. Their job is running the store and making your customers happy.

Through our platform, store managers have access to everything they need to manage their local social presence with ease. We provide the tools, training, and assets to allow store managers to stay on-brand, leverage best practices, and efficiently work within a framework that makes sense for your brand. These elements work together to ensure that the local content brings each location, its nuances, its associates, and the community it serves to life online.

The result is an authentic experience between local consumers and your brand that resonates and builds authentic personal connections.

Logistics. Ultimately, the goals of a local social strategy are to drive footfall and sales. However, we work with brands to identify and understand what makes them unique and how a local strategy can help. Is it in-store events? Is it community involvement? Each brand has a secret sauce that makes them who they are, and we want to tap into that DNA and test different strategies and tactics to find the recipe that works best.

The more important question you need to be asking is what’s keeping you from starting? Localized social doesn’t have to be daunting; it can be a powerful and rewarding tool for brands that are willing to take on the challenge for greater reward and help differentiate you in a crowded marketplace.

Want to learn more about how Brand Networks can help empower local store associates and bridge the physical and digital worlds? Learn more or contact us today.

See how Schott NYC put a local social strategy to work.
Read the Case Study